Check out new video of the Plasanator on utube.com


This Ebook is designed for Guys and Gals who like to create tools and machinery.

I hope my Ebook gives you hope that no matter how hard a project may seem, keep plugging away until you finish and you will succeed.

I spent 3 years putting this together and now finally all my hard work and research has paid off.

I studied diagrams from commercial venders, but to no luck. They tend to leave a lot out – on purpose - so it’s hard to reproduce their design. I’ve see different attempts at people making their own on You Tube and other sites, but what a death trap. Messy water resistors and wiring like a darn Christmas tree.

So I began reading books and articles on their workings and took my home schooled-knowledge of electronics to build my own plasma cutter. I was determined; failure was not an option.

I started by collecting parts from old microwaves, stoves, water heaters, air conditioners, car parts and more in the hopes of creating a low budget way to create a plasma cutter for myself. I mounted it all on a simple piece of scrap wood; well it’s scrap wood now. We, didn’t need that table anyway (shhhhhhh don’t tell the wife).

Then one day it all came together. I hit the power switch, placed the head to the metal, started the arc, felt the air kick and then a second hard kick (the current being drawn into play). Then BAM, it was slicing through quarter inch steel like a hot knife through butter.

How sweet it sounded! I felt the amazement of completing a project that I just couldn’t let go of.

So, take your time, enjoy and be safe.

The Plasaman

Step 1: Assembly

When I started assembling my cutter, I began with taking a good look at my parts. As shown in Section 5 and Section 6, my parts are laid out so I can begin checking off from my parts list. Once this was accomplished, I would study each the parts pictorial to get familiar with each part/component and they would be placed.

The next step was to study my schematic and create a layout diagram. My board layout diagram is the most valuable piece in the building, repairing, and modifying process of my cutter.

As I began mounting my parts, I organized my board into four sections. Those sections are Power Control, High Current DC, Low Voltage DC and High Voltage Arc Start.

Power Control
3KVA step down transformer and contactor. The transformer is mounted off board because it is big and heavy, as you can see in Section 13. The contactor became my first part on the board. I wired it so when the head trigger is pressed, it turns the contactor on and allows my DC components to come on line. Then I began with my next system, High Current DC.

High Current DC
Bridge Rectifier
Large Capacitors
Reed Switch (which I used as a current sensor), what it does is allow the high voltage arc system to fire and as soon as high current starts to travel to the head and cutting starts it shuts down the high voltage arc system while cutting since it’s not needed at this point.
If you lose your fire it restarts the arc and gets you going again automatically.
My next system was placed on board.

Low Voltage DC
The low voltage DC components are mixed with power switch and 120 volt terminals.
Power Switch
120-volt terminal blocks
12 volt transformer
Low voltage bridge rectifier
Auto relays
Terminal strip, 4 position is all I needed but 5 position was what I had in my toy box.

High Voltage Arc Start
Microwave capacitor or run capacitor, a household dimmer switch rated for 15 amps. A Ford or Chevy ignition coil. I used the Chevy on this cutter. As you can see, I have terminals to all parts that get an external connection outside of their system so all I have to do is run a piece of wire in-between. Now look at the pictorial of board mounted parts in Section 11. It shows all the wires on the board, but here you can see all terminals and parts mounted, as I wanted. When wiring all my components, I used my Chevy board layout diagram to run my wires.

I checked and re checked all wires before mounting external parts. If you go to the final wiring section, you will also find pictures of my rigging of these parts. I could have done it many different ways, but this is what I chose at this time.

It took me about 3 hours of procrastination to finally assemble it all. You know how it is on a project, once you are ready with all your parts, your mind starts giving you a million ways of doing something. And, at last you just pick a way and go with it.

Once I got it all together, I connected my air tank hose and put the pressure setting at 28 for a safe point to start. I fired it up and BAM - that baby didn’t need any more adjusting. It was cutting!

You can imagine all the relief and pride I felt when the Plasanator started kicking ass. Yea, I said it Kicking Ass Baby. Oops Wife just told me I need to stop, hee hee and for all you creators – ah ah ah ahhhhhh.

I hope you enjoyed riding along with me in my journey.

Take care and be safe.

The Plasmaman

<p>Nice project. Have you ever measured the current drawn by the arc? Or measured the arc current over time? I would be rather interested in that infomation. Thanks :)<br><br>AN observation. Page 22 of your ebook High Current side wiring. <br><br>Disconnect the wire from the contactor to the C on the bridge rectifier at point C. Then connect it to the center of the two reservoir capacitors.</p><p>Remove the wire from the center of the capacitors to C.</p><p>This modification takes the circuit to a classic voltage doubler.</p>
<p>google the ESAB HANDY PLASMA 125 manual it has more of the ignition arc circuit diagram on it than others that I have seen. I love the brilliant simplicity of your solutions. From a safety point of view a bleeder resistor on the two capacitors to bleed the High Voltage capacitors. Say 5K 15 watt</p>
<p>excuse my ignorance, that serves the water heater element</p>
<p>Sorry you have a great instructable but I still have a few questions. For example why do you have a large heating resistor, what purpose does it serve? Also whats the voltage for starting the arc, and what voltage are you using to sustain it? Also why do you have capacitors what is it they help with? I'm sorry if these are basic questions I just don't understand all the theory for how to design a cutter.</p>
<p>Using a portable plasma cutting machine, it is easy to install, and very cheap.</p><p>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkVvZyybWXQ</p>
<p>Why do you put arc tip to the torch on outside and not to + work clamp?</p>
<p>I have one side to tip and other is connected to clamp inside</p>
<p>any thoughts on modifying a stock DC inverter welder like a cheap Harbor freight to function as a plasma cutter?</p><p>Nice instructable</p>
<p>If the voltages are the same as regular welder it wont work, need higher voltages.</p><p>If they are at least 300 coming out it will.</p>
<p>No reason go for it.</p><p>The idea is to use what you can afford and find,</p>
<p>any reason not to use a simple furnace oil burner module for the arc start? I think it would be more reliable and cheaper </p>
This is so helpful, Sir, thank you for sharing your hard earned knowledge. My buddy and I are in the collecting parts phase, and this is already very helpful. Thanks again! <br><br>PS: I'm sure I'll be back with questions at some point, hope you don't mind!
<p>Hello,</p><p>please, have you some plans of Plasanator (5)? I need something with little more cutting power. </p>
<p>im working on but soon.</p>
<p>Is it possible to use two 6kW heating elements with 230V?</p>
<p>should work fine.</p>
<p>Still working on them want them to be perfect for this will be my last version.</p>
<p>this is awesome, im a little hung on the ins n outs as of right now but i will research as you did , i reckon i will need a different circuit as we use a higher voltage in england. good work for pioneering for us all and sharing that :D </p>
<p>what voltage do you use? if its 220or 240 it will work great.</p>
<p>YOU ROCK! (Or cut )with style! This is great, gotta a extra one of you? Anyway thanks for this inspiration, I'm not smart enough to create this, but I love that other hard working people are!</p>
<p>Correct me if I am wrong, but wouldn't something like this work? T1-3 are microwave oven transformers. If we wind these for 200v each, the rectification should push the voltage to almost 300v to charge the caps. C2 dumps through T4 to ignite plasma and C1 can then discharge through the plasma. I would imagine with 3000uf, it should maintain continuos discharge with 15 amps even if only 60hz. I used 3 ac mains so that no breakers blow. The air flow and fan could be easily incorporated into the schematic I just didn't find any symbols for them.</p><p>What do you guys think?</p>
<p>Sorry I mean to say the total voltage output is 200v from the transformers not 200v each. I'm really tired right now :O</p>
<p>this pic should've been fist page not third or forth in line.</p>
After all of this man's hard work, that's what you get out of this? Please, for your own sake, don't try building this lmao
great job,, where can i salvage the high voltage bridge rectifier. i can't seem to find anything that uses one that can handle this much voltage,,other than just buying a new one, thx
<p>eBay has them for about 16 bucks.</p>
<p>Great project. I am in the works of constructing my own working from your design. I have two questions. Is the isolation transformer necessary? Also, what are you using for your compressed air source? Just an air compressor? Thanks in advance! </p>
I don't use one since all is shut down by gun trigger never had a problem or safety issue.<br>I just use a regular air compressor bigger the better if you have a lot of cutting to do air last longer and I use a 50 gallon hot water tank made in to an air tank secondary.
<p>Great thanks. Sorry I have one more question I forgot to ask. When you turn the unit on, does it blow the breaker while the capacitors are charging up? Seems like they would pull a looot of current to charge being so big and all. If so how do you work around that problem?</p>
<p>I have never had that problem.</p><p>Make sure you have a 30 amp breaker for 120 and at least a 50 amp for 220 use.</p><p>Also make sure the 120 power that comes out of your relays is not connected to the other side of ac connection.</p><p>Follow the yellow that goes to the two joined relays and comes out blue to high voltage set up and to air solenoid .</p>
<p>Is is possible to make a 1A plasma cutter? I need to cut very thin pieces of 304, but because of the geometry and composition of the parts I am currently stuck chemically etching the material away.</p>
I wouldn't think so and plasma cutting would leave spray all over pcb board.<br>I recommend using A laser or Drexel tool.
<p>i cant understand why you connect the caps at this strange way. after the bridge you have a plus and a minus full rectified source. so the caps should take this dc voltage. <br>why do you connect the caps back to the AC line?</p>
It forms a voltage doubler circuit.
<p>Can this cut aluminum and stainless sheets?</p>
Yes it can and does very well.
<p>What is the water heater element for ? Don't see it anywhere in these pictures.</p>
<p>Hey all just solder a wire to the hv coil instead of zip tying it and cover solder with silicone of any kind.</p>
If i am putting 240v to the contactor does that mean I'm putting 240v to the air solenoid? I am also reading 650v on the dc side of the rectifier. I am replacing both of these parts (fried the 110v solenoid).<br>Thank you.
<p>No then you have it hooked up wrong.</p><p>The air solenoid goes before the contactor on the input side through a relay.</p>
Sorry, I also forgot to ask...it might be hard to find a ford / chevy ignition coil out here, so is there anything specific I should look for when I pick one out, or any minimum specs needed? Also, is there any purpose to mounting the stud on the ignition coil, other than as a place to attach the connections? And what does the water heater element specifically do?
<p>its a dump load. instead of a large amount of copper or aluminum. he went with that tho it needs a bigger heat sink tho.</p>
here are some picures of one I done a few months ago.
Yes the studd is just for mounting purposes but instead go ahead and solder a lead to coil and fill around it with silicone for protection. <br>I do that now for all my cutters. <br>The element is your load resister and is what draws and dictates the amount of current used. <br>Two in parallel will draw more current for cutting thicker material. <br>My new unit I used some square tubing from treadmill and a blower also from a microwave to cool coils down to last longer.
<p>If you were building one that was 40A, what would you use to control the output amperage while cutting? I was thinking about a solid state voltage regulator like this one: </p><p><a href="http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_30&products_id=353" rel="nofollow">http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=produc...</a></p><p>Thoughts?</p><p>Thanks,</p><p>Keith</p>
<p>I don't build them that big so I can't say, sorry.</p>
<p>(Please correct me if im wrong)</p><p>i was wondering if your build is using a frequency from your instructions i dont see anything that would generate a frequency other than starting arc. the reason im asking is i have a wire feed welder that im going to add the plasma cutting feature to it and use both welder and cutter. the welder is set up to use ac only witch i can convert to dc by using your instruction and the add a separate hook up for the plasma cutter but in order to for the welder to work it needs to have some sort of freq..</p><p>From my under standing a plasma cutter operates at 10khz or more how is yours working with converting it to dc it should be a pulsing dc at 60 HZ + or - and you add the CAPS in there witch would add a smoothing affect to the frequencies and bring it down to almost nothing.</p><p>Thank you</p>
<p>no just 60 hz</p>
Plasanator, <br>Thanks for all the time and effort put into this. Great job! <br>Any thoughts on using a 208V/208V transformer from a UPS system and 2 heating elements? I figure this will give me 24A at 208V at the torch and may be able to cut 1/2&quot; steel. <br>Thanks, <br>Keith

About This Instructable


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Bio: Hi I'm Joe and welcome. I love to make Homemade Tools & More. I will have many things to put on the instructables for you ... More »
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